Heating Oil Is Clean, Efficient and Safe

heating oil benefits maine The many Mainers who live in a home that is kept warm by heating oil appreciate all of the benefits they get. Let’s begin with reviewing all the progress that has been made in reducing the carbon footprint of heating oil.

As you may know, many Maine heating oil companies now deliver Bioheat® fuel, a blend of renewable biodiesel and ultra-low sulfur heating oil. It represents one of the best ways for reducing carbon dioxide in the environment without sacrificing comfort or needing to undertake expensive, disruptive equipment replacements.

So how does Bioheat fuel stack up against the traditional heating oil Mainers have relied on for decades? First, the similarities. Bioheat fuel basically works the same as traditional heating oil in your boiler or furnace. You can use it in your existing heating oil system without modification.

Bioheat Fuel Generates Lower Emissions

Bioheat fuel offers a responsible, immediate road to carbon reduction. That’s because Bioheat fuel reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 86%, compared to traditional petroleum heating oil. Bioheat fuel also helps eliminate harmful sulfur oxides and particulate matter.

In terms of fuel efficiency, you don’t lose any heating power with Bioheat fuel either. On the contrary, it burns more efficiently, reducing heating system maintenance, improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions. It also has the highest Btu content of any alternative fuel!

Read more about Bioheat fuel so you can feel good about your next heating oil delivery.

Always Safe at Home with Heating Oil

Being safe at home is another primary reason many people prefer to heat their home with oil. With everything that’s happening in the world today, the last thing you want is to feel unsafe at home.

For starters, heating oil cannot explode. The oil in your tank is as likely to explode as the water in your backyard swimming pool. It’s that safe.

Plus, with an oil tank on your property, you can always count on having a secure, on-site supply at your home. Heating oil is easily transported and handled by highly trained professionals, who use equipment and techniques that keep safety at the forefront.

Additionally, a heating oil system poses a very low risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If an oil burner malfunctions (most often due to a lack of maintenance), the safety devices in the unit will typically shut the oil furnace or oil boiler off.

Heating Oil and Energy Efficiency

Heating oil generates nearly 140,000 Btu of heat for every gallon burned and warms a home evenly and efficiently.

This is because the flame in a heating oil system burns much hotter than many other energy systems. This produces more heat and warmer air or water, which leads to evenly distributed heat throughout the house. So, when the outdoor temperatures are in the single digits, that powerful heat output can help keep your home as cozy as ever.

Technology has also brought great improvements in heating oil equipment efficiency that has reduced annual fuel consumption by as much as 40%. This has saved heating oil consumers a lot of money on fuel.

Today’s heating equipment regularly achieves efficiency levels of 85% or better. With the introduction of higher blends of Bioheat fuel, we will start to see super high-efficiency systems available in the U.S. These systems will achieve efficiency levels of 90% or more!

Read more about the benefits of heating oil, including heating oil tanks.

How Often You Should Get Service

water heater service maine How long can you depend on your current water heating system to keep all of that hot water flowing without any problems?

First, the life span of the most common water heater—units with a storage tank—can vary greatly, anywhere from 7 to 13 years.

How long your storage tank water heater lasts depends on a number of factors, including the temperature of the water you set for the tank, the volume of water used, the overall quality of the water heater model, and perhaps most importantly, the water quality.

This is what we mean by water quality. Many people around the country have to contend with “hard water,” which means their domestic water has a high amount of mineral content. Fortunately, here in Maine, we generally have the advantage of “soft water” with low mineral content. However, manufacturers do recommend flushing your water heater on a yearly basis to remove any mineral particles, dirt, or debris that has collected inside your water storage tank over time. This will improve water heater efficiency and extend the life of your water heater.

To head off any problems with your water heater, it’s wise to call on an experienced service technician, HVAC contractor, or plumber to flush out your hot water storage tank once a year. Your service professional should also check the condition of the anode rod, which generally lasts from 3-5 years.

What Is an Anode Rod?

Storage tank water heaters contain many parts and components, including a long metal anode rod, which extends the life of your water heater by preventing corrosion from building up inside your tank.
Usually made of magnesium or aluminum, the anode rod does its job through a process called electrolysis. The metals in the anode rod attract ions that normally would cause rust in iron and steel. But instead, these ions latch on to the anode rod and as a result, cause it to degrade over time. Without the anode rod, your water heater could rust out in just a few years. That’s why it’s so important to replace the anode rod after it degrades.

Signs That Your Water Heater Is Wearing Out

Some telltale signs of a failing water heater tank include higher water heating bills, water stains and unusual noises. If it takes longer to heat water than it used to, or the water doesn’t get as hot, these are also signs that you may be ready for a new water heating unit. A big trouble sign is a slow leak from your tank or rust on the tank or in your tap water. (A water tank rusts from the inside out).

Efficient Types of Water heaters

Indirect-fired water heaters: This type of unit uses the gas or oil burner in your boiler to heat your tap water. One design is a water tank with coiled pipes inside. These coiled pipes connect to your boiler. Hot water from the boiler passes through the coil, which heats up the water surrounding it. The boiler water never mixes with the contents of your water heater.

Because of this configuration, an indirect-fired water heater is highly efficient. The latest indirect water heating systems are made from stainless steel and often come with a lifetime warranty. Regular maintenance is still recommended to head off any potential water-heating problems.

On-demand tankless water heaters: With incredibly high-efficiency rates (some upwards of 98%), on-demand tankless water heaters require annual maintenance to keep the heat exchanger clean. This allows the water heater to properly heat your water every day.

Read more about selecting a water heater replacement.

How It’s Made and How It Warms Your Home

heating oil maine If you own one of the more than 60% of homes in Maine that depend on heating oil delivery to keep warm, you may already know quite a lot about heating oil. But do you know the qualities of heating oil that make it one of the most energy-efficient home heating fuels in use today?

Let’s start at the beginning. Heating oil, like many other products, comes from the refinement of crude oil. Through the process of distillation, hydrocarbons are removed from the crude oil and become a substance that can be further purified and blended to make the clean-burning heating oil that is ultimately delivered to your heating oil tank.

Refining is just a step in the process, however. There is more work to be done before fuel reaches your heating oil tank. After it is refined and ready for use, heating oil is transported by ship, barge, truck, and/or pipeline to major fuel terminals. It is distributed from these terminals to local heating oil companies. Many of these companies have their own storage facilities, which can hold thousands of gallons of heating oil. These secure storage facilities ensure that an adequate supply of fuel is on hand during the cold months to ensure people get their heating oil whenever they need it.

Many heating oil companies in Maine now deliver Bioheat® fuel—a renewable biodiesel blended with ultra-low sulfur heating oil. Bioheat fuel helps contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions, a cleaner heating system and improved air quality. Plus, because it burns so cleanly, it can help save you money by improving the efficiency of your system.

Where Biodiesel Comes From

Biodiesel, also known as biofuel, is generally produced by agricultural byproducts, including used cooking oil, animal fats, inedible corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil. This puts excess oil and fats that would otherwise be discarded to good use. Food is never sacrificed for fuel in the production of Bioheat fuel. Bioheat fuel is also sourced and produced right here in the United States, supporting local farmers, local industries and local economies.

A new biofuel product is called EL 100, which is short for ethyl levulinate. It is made by processing woody fiber waste that comes out of lumber and paper mills. Emissions-free and safe to use with current home heating oil systems, EL 100 is expected to be in active use this year.

Read more about Bioheat fuel.

How Your Home Stays Warm

If you use heating oil (or blended Bioheat fuel), you either have an oil furnace or oil boiler in your home. A furnace uses air to heat your home, while boilers use water. Furnaces and boilers can both use fuel oil to heat, and it starts in the combustion chamber, where the oil is turned into a flame by the oil burner.

Like any mechanical device, heating oil systems require all components to work together. But some parts are more important than others. One component that is particularly vital to the efficient and effective operation of a heating oil system is its burner.

The burner can be considered the engine of the heating oil system. When your house gets chilly, the thermostat will send a signal to tell the oil burner in the furnace or boiler to turn on. A fuel pump then starts to draw the oil from the tank and through fuel lines to reach the oil burner.

There is a device on the burner called the nozzle, which turns the oil into a very fine spray. This oil mist mixes with air and ignites in the combustion chamber, which gets very hot. This heat then gets moved around your home and comes out either through radiators or baseboards (if you have a boiler) or vents (if you have a furnace).

Read more about Oilheat.

Affordable Energy for Everyone

about propane maine Since propane was first identified as a volatile compound in gasoline in 1910, businesses and scientists have worked diligently to make propane the viable fuel source it represents today. The process itself of making propane has evolved over the last century or so. Today, there are two primary ways propane is produced.

Because propane is created through the processing of natural gas and crude oil, it is a fuel that is largely a domestic product. In fact, about 90% of the American propane supply is generated right here in the United States! That abundant, right-at-home supply in your propane tank makes propane a reliable fuel choice for your Maine home or business, and all its potential appliances and equipment, throughout the year.

Crude Oil Refining

Some propane is created during the process of crude oil refining. There are a lot of products that can be derived from crude oil refining, including gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, jet fuel and heating oil—and propane as well. During the stabilization phase of the refining, the heavier hydrocarbons fall to the bottom. But propane, being a lighter hydrocarbon, is at the top and it’s easily extracted.

Natural Gas Production

The process of crude oil refining now plays a small role in the production of propane, however. The majority of propane is derived today from natural gas production. When we take natural gas out of the earth, it is a mix of different gases. One of these gases is propane.

To stop condensation from forming in natural gas pipelines, propane is extracted from liquid compounds as the natural gas is being processed. Butane is also extracted during this process. Propane, being much denser as a liquid than as a gas, is stored and transported as a liquid in this form of production.

Propane: Energy-Efficient and Affordable

Propane is an ideal fuel for many purposes, even beyond your water heater and heating your home with your furnace, boiler, space heater, or fireplace. It’s also useful for stoves and grills, as well as for outdoor use, including lawnmowers, pool heating, and outside lighting. And the peace of mind is never far off when you have a propane-fueled generator.

This comes as a surprise to many people, but homes that are run on electricity are actually less energy efficient than those running on propane. And it is pretty straightforward – propane gives a big bang for your buck on your energy bills. Since propane naturally burns hotter, it feels warmer, and the energy produced creates a larger impact. Your energy bills will cost less with such an efficient fuel working for you, especially when paired with energy-efficient propane appliances.

Propane Is Safe and Reliable

Because there are strong federal, state, and local regulations, as well as extremely high industry standards, propane is an incredibly safe energy source for Maine homes.

For Maine families who prefer or need to be off the grid, propane also presents a secure, ideal solution. If you’re in an area with spotty utility service, you won’t have to worry about losing power based on geography—or weather. And with your propane tank right on your property, you can avoid concerns about supply within the community.

Read more about propane.

boiler service maine While the majority of new homes built in Maine use a warm-air furnace for central heat, there are many older homes here that rely on a boiler for heat. These are primarily oil-fueled systems because by far, heating oil is used by the majority of homeowners in the Pine Tree State. So, how does a boiler heat your home?

Boilers use hot water or steam to heat your home. Another name for a boiler is a hydronic heating system, which is defined as a system that transfers heat via a circulating fluid, such as water, in a closed system of pipes.

Steam boilers can still be found in older homes, usually ones built before the 1950s. If you have this type of system, your boiler stays true to its name because it actually has to boil water to make steam before your heat can be distributed.

In comparison, newer boilers do not need to boil the water to make steam. Instead, they use hot water to distribute heat through a home’s piping. The heat is distributed through your home by either radiators or baseboards.

Because a boiler is a closed-loop system, water does not need to be constantly brought in or replaced, making it more efficient.

Key Components of a Boiler System

These include:

  • A burner, where the fuel (oil or gas) is ignited in the combustion chamber.
  • A heat exchanger, which allows heat to be exchanged between two substances (fuel oil and water, for example) while not allowing the two substances to mix together.
  • Circulator pumps, which push the hot water from the boiler into the piping. A steam boiler doesn’t require a circulator pump because it doesn’t need to be pushed into the piping. It rises up the pipes naturally.
  • Piping, which includes supply lines to deliver the heated water (or steam) to the radiators or baseboards. When the water cools or the steam turns back into water, return lines bring the water back to the boiler for re-heating.

Many homeowners prefer hot water heating to warm air systems like furnaces and heat pumps. The heat that boilers create does not dry out the air. Plus, the heat generated by your hydronic heating system can also be used to heat water in your home, creating an efficient two-in-one home and water heating solution. Heated water is stored in a separate tank that’s connected to the boiler for later use.

When to Replace Your Boiler

Like any piece of equipment, your boiler will eventually have to be replaced one day. But is that day near, or still far off? If you need a repair, should you still keep putting money into your aging boiler? Or would you be better off investing your money into a new, high-efficiency boiler?

First, let’s look at age. While the average boiler will last about 20-25 years—as long as proper maintenance has been followed–there are many home boilers in Maine that are even older than that. And while they may still be keeping homes warm enough, their efficiency rate is much lower than a new hot water boiler, which means you are using more fuel to generate heat. Some people have upgraded to a super-efficient condensing boiler, which converts water vapor condensation into heat and recovers some of the lost heat from waste gases.

Other Signs That Your Boiler Is Wearing Out

  • Corrosion. Just like your water heater, if you see outward signs of rust on your boiler, its time is limited. A professional inspection may also reveal damage to piping or other boiler components.
  • Warmth. A properly working boiler should keep you warm even on the coldest nights, but a boiler’s operating performance diminishes with the passage of time.
  • Repairs. A higher number of repairs for an aging system is another strong sign that you would do well to let go of your old boiler and invest in a new one.
  • Diminished hot water production. If you depend on your boiler to heat your domestic hot water too, and you’re not getting as much hot water as before, this could be a sign of a leaking or corroded coil on the boiler – a precursor to boiler failure.

Benefits of a New Boiler Installation

Boiler technology has improved dramatically over the years and new hydronic heating systems are much more efficient than the systems installed decades ago. When we say efficient, we mean that the boiler puts out more heat with less fuel, which translates to big savings on your annual home heating costs.

Read more about a new boiler installation.

Be Better Prepared to Identify Boiler Problems

boiler service maine With another heating season upon us, it’s a good idea to review the basics of how a boiler (also known as a hydronic system) keeps a home warm. That way, if you run into heating issues over the next few months, you’ll be better prepared to discuss the situation with your heating service contractor.

How Boilers Work

There are two main types of boilers found in Maine homes: a steam boiler, commonly found in older homes, and the modern, and more energy-efficient, hot water boiler. Steam boilers require special safety precautions because of the temperature of the steam (the water must be heated to 212°F). As a result, it is vitally important to follow a regular maintenance schedule.

Your boiler extracts heat from heating oil, propane, natural gas or wood pellets as it burns; this heats the water (or creates steam) that will run through the zones that are calling for heat. The heat is delivered into your living space through either radiators or baseboards.

The problem is that some heat (as much as 30% in some older boiler models) will be lost as exhaust, which means you are paying a lot of money for heat that will never reach your living space. See how much you can benefit with a new boiler installation.

Condensing Boilers

A more efficient version of the hot water boiler is the condensing boiler, which is designed to keep heat loss to a minimum. By recycling heat from the exhaust process – and by operating at lower temperatures overall – your condensing boiler can improve operating efficiency by 10-15% compared to a non-condensing boiler.

However, a condensing boiler is not practical for all homes. Plus, condensing boilers cost more to manufacture. Installing a condensing boiler correctly requires highly trained technicians who know how to capitalize on the efficiency benefits of these sophisticated heating systems.

Maintaining Your Boiler

Regular maintenance is a vital money-saving investment for home heating systems– not just because it can keep your equipment running safely and at peak efficiency, but also because four out of five heating system breakdowns are preventable if you follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations.
A professional tune-up and safety check allows your heating service contractor to fix minor issues before they become big problems (worn parts, etc.). Regular tune-ups can also help you conserve heating fuel over the winter.

3 Self-Maintenance Tips for Boilers

  1. Check the damper. When you check the baseboard, are you getting heat? If not, give the damper a check. Make sure it’s clear at the bottom of the unit, and there are no obstructions in the way, like carpeting or toys.
  2. Give your radiator valve regular checks. You always want your radiator valve to be set to “on” or “off.” It should not be in between the two positions, as this will make it unable to keep the temperature regulated. A radiator valve that is not in the proper position will also strain your pipes, causing an annoying hammering sound.
  3. If you have an older steam boiler, monitor the water gauge. More often than not, boiler shut-downs are the result of low-water levels. If the water in your gauge is rusty, then it’s time to “flush” your steam boiler. Your heating service contractor can help you out and let you know what to do if you need assistance with this.

Contact your local Maine equipment service contractor to make sure your boiler is set to go before winter returns. Keep in mind that boiler maintenance is just one of the ways you can conserve energy and save money over the winter.

The Fuel of the Future with a Small Carbon Impact

renewable propane mainePropane is already environmentally beneficial since it burns cleanly with negligible greenhouse gas emissions. The advent of renewable propane gas, however, takes the propane industry’s effort to become more sustainable a big step further.

While it is not in common use yet, renewable propane gas has positioned itself to be a major part of the clean fuel conversation in the years ahead. The 200,000 tons of American renewable propane currently made is only 0.1 percent of total propane production. There’s tremendous potential for growth as more resources are dedicated to renewable propane production.

Just as conventional propane is a coproduct of crude oil and natural gas extraction, most renewable propane can be considered a coproduct of biofuel creation. Many of the same feedstocks that go into creating biofuel — animal oils, vegetable oils, biomass — are used to create renewable propane.

This method of producing propane is as safe, cost-effective, and dependable as that for propane generated from natural gas. And when compared to electricity, renewable propane has a considerably smaller carbon footprint. It can also reduce our reliance on aging, poorly maintained, fragile electric utility infrastructures.

A Gallon-for-Gallon Substitute

Conventional propane and renewable propane are molecularly identical. They can coexist in the same equipment without modification. And all the efficiency of conventional propane is present in renewable propane. It’s more than 90% efficient in modern heating equipment and produces 43% fewer emissions than an equivalent amount of grid-produced electricity.

Reducing Landfill Waste

Production of renewable propane diverts used cooking oil and meat fats from languishing in landfills. In 2018, in conjunction with biofuel production, renewable propane production used the following as feedstocks:

  • Over 7.5 billion pounds of soybean oil
  • Over 2 billion pounds of corn oil
  • 1.7 billion pounds of yellow grease
  • 618 million pounds of white grease

That’s a lot of waste being put to good use!

Creating a Greener Tomorrow

Homes and businesses all over the U.S. will eventually be able to easily use renewable propane. Since it is molecularly identical to propane, there will be no need to replace or alter existing propane appliances and equipment. As the usage of renewable propane increases, it will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, helping fight the devastating effects of climate change.

Renewable propane can also be blended with propane and utilized in existing propane-powered equipment and vehicles, as well as cars powered by propane autogas. This will reduce air pollution and diesel particulate matter substantially. Cleaner burning renewable propane can also help engines and equipment to run more effectively, resulting in longer life with less upkeep and fewer repairs.
Businesses may benefit from tax credits at both the federal and state levels.

How Renewable Propane Gas Can Benefit Maine

Renewable propane gas will allow propane providers in Maine a greater opportunity to be involved in residential, commercial and government projects that require energy sources to be zero-carbon or as close as possible when it comes to emissions, meaning more opportunities and income for locally-owned businesses.

Ultimately, renewable propane can be a part of making the quality of life better here and elsewhere, with reduced emissions, a cleaner environment and forward-thinking applications that will pave the path to ultra-modern development.

Read more about renewable propane gas.

Answers to Your Questions about Bioheat® Fuel

bioheat maineBioheat fuel represents a smart solution for the delivery of a better, clean-burning fuel for your home and our environment. With curiosity growing about this remarkable, renewable fuel, we’ve tried to provide answers to the most common questions people in Maine have.

Can Bioheat Fuel Save Me Money?

Yes. Bioheat fuel burns more cleanly and more efficiently than conventional heating oil. So, you’ll be using less heat to get the same amount of warmth, and your heating system will last longer. You’ll also likely find that you need fewer repairs on your system. You may also be able to extend the time between system maintenance service. All of this amounts to savings on your household heating expenses.

How Is Bioheat Fuel Made?

Bioheat fuel is a blend of ultra-low sulfur heating oil with renewable biodiesel that’s made from organic and recycled products. These products can range from soybean oil, used cooking oils and inedible corn oil to canola, tallow, fats, and algae.

These renewable products are defined as feedstocks for producing biodiesel. Blends of biodiesel in heating oil are designated in percentages. For example, a 5% blend of biodiesel is defined as B5. B10 refers to a 10% blend, while B20 is a 20% blend.

Is It True that Biofuel Can Be Made from Wood?

Yes. Companies, including those located right here in Maine, have been using advanced technology to convert woody fiber waste from lumber and paper mills into ethyl levulinate (EL). This can then be converted into an ultra-clean home heating product that replaces petroleum, gallon-for-gallon. Emitting zero greenhouse gas emissions EL, like Bioheat fuel, can be used safely with current home heating oil systems.

This is just one example of the quest to find more eco-friendly renewable liquid fuels. The continued growth of Bioheat fuel already results in a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Is Biofuel the Same Thing as Bioheat Fuel?

No. Biofuel is a broad term that can include various products including not only biodiesel, but ethanol, renewable hydrocarbon diesel, and raw vegetable oil known as RVO or LR100. It’s important to note that raw vegetable oil does not meet industry specifications; it is not biodiesel or Bioheat fuel and it is not suitable for home heating oil use.

Is Bioheat Fuel Made in America?

Yes. Bioheat fuel is domestically made and helps our economy by helping meet our nation’s energy needs without incurring the cost of new land use or drilling, or paying premium prices for imported fuels.
The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry now supports about 65,000 U.S. jobs and more than $17 billion in economic activity each year.

Nationwide, some three billion gallons of biofuel were consumed last year, and biofuel use is expected to exceed six billion gallons by 2030. This will eliminate over 35 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions annually. Expect those numbers to get even more impressive as biodiesel takes us farther along the road to clean energy.

Do I Need to Replace My Equipment to Use Bioheat Fuel?

No. Most major heating system manufacturers accept Bioheat fuel as covered under their warranties for use, and you won’t need to make any changes to your furnace, boiler, or oil storage tank to use it. Performance standards for Bioheat fuel have been approved by ASTM International, an organization that sets industry standards for fuels and lubricants.

Learn more about Bioheat fuel and the future of heating oil in Maine.

Benefits, Installation Costs, Potential Savings, and More

tankless water heaters maineHave you thought about upgrading your old storage tank water heater to a durable, highly efficient propane tankless water heater–but you’re not sure it’s the right solution for you?

First, you need to understand that a propane tankless water heater represents an option that needs less space in the home while providing an abundant supply of hot water on demand. Tankless water heaters are extremely energy efficient, and generally have a longer life than standard storage tank water heaters.

A tankless propane water heater eliminates standby energy losses that occur in storage tank systems because this innovative unit only heats water when a hot water faucet is turned on.

A tankless water heater is also so compact in size that it can easily be mounted on a wall. These units are about the size of a suitcase, which allows for installation in crawl spaces, attics, closets and other tight spaces.

When you turn on your hot water faucets or an appliance, a flow sensor will activate a propane gas burner to heat the water. The heating will continue until you turn off the faucet, which shuts off the gas burner.

By switching to a tankless model, your energy efficiency could improve up to 40% and you’ll have access to virtually unlimited amounts of hot water – because you won’t have to worry about the tank draining and having to refill and reheat.

Getting the Right Size Tankless Water Heater

To make sure a tankless water heater will be able to meet your household’s hot water needs, your service contractor will need to calculate:

  • Flow Rate. This is how much hot water you will need at any given time
  • Temperature Rise. This is the difference between the incoming ground cold-water temperature and the desired temperature of your hot water. 

You will also need a professional to figure out which fixtures you plan to operate simultaneously and how much hot water each will use.

So, depending on key factors like how many tubs and showers you have, how often you’re running appliances like a washing machine or dishwasher, and how many of these would be in use at once, you can customize the capacity of your tankless water heater to suit your needs.

How Much Does Propane Tankless Water Heater Installation Cost?

Prices range from about $170 for small gas-fired units to more than $2,000 for high-output heaters that can supply two showers at the same time; on average, the cost is about $1,000 per unit.

But keep in mind that propane gas-burning tankless water heaters should operate for 20 years or more. That’s two or three times longer than most storage tank water heaters as well as electric tankless water heaters.

If you experience an average energy savings of $150 per year, these savings should pay for your investment in a tankless water heater in about six or seven years. After that, you can pocket all of the savings on heating the water in your home!

There Are Two Primary Sources to Get Propane

how propane is made maineIf you’re an old hand at using propane in and around your Maine home, you probably already know how versatile, safe, eco-friendly, and efficient propane gas is. But do you know how it is created in the first place? Let’s go back to the beginning.

Since propane was first identified as a volatile compound in gasoline in 1910, businesses and scientists have worked diligently to make propane the viable fuel source it represents today. The process itself of making propane has evolved over the last century or so. Today, there are two primary ways propane is produced.

Because propane is created through the processing of natural gas and crude oil, it is a fuel that is largely a domestic product. In fact, about 90 % of the American propane supply is generated right here in the United States! That abundant, right-at-home supply makes propane a reliable fuel choice for your Maine home or business, and all its potential appliances and equipment, throughout the year.

Crude Oil Refining

Some propane is created during the process of crude oil refining. There are a lot of products that can be derived from crude oil refining, including gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, jet fuel, heating oil—and propane as well. During the stabilization phase of the refining, the heavier hydrocarbons fall to the bottom. But propane, being a lighter hydrocarbon, is at the top and it’s easily extracted.

Natural Gas Production

The process of crude oil refining plays a small role in the production of propane, however. The majority of propane is derived today from natural gas production. When we take natural gas out of the earth, it is a mix of different gases. One of these gases is propane.

To stop condensation from forming in natural gas pipelines, propane is extracted from liquid compounds as the natural gas is being processed. Butane is also extracted during this process. Propane, being much denser as a liquid than as a gas, is stored and transported as a liquid in this form of production.

Propane: Easy and Safe Transport

One of the drawbacks of natural gas is that it can only get to your home through an underground pipeline. If something goes wrong with that pipeline, you can’t get any gas. Propane is easier to move around because it gets compressed or squeezed until it turns into a liquid. It is then put inside large storage tanks and your propane supplier then delivers it to your home or business as needed.

The compression of propane can be generally compared to the air in a car tire, which gets squeezed to approximately two or three times normal air pressure. But the gas in a propane tank gets squeezed about 100 times more than that. This is why even a small tank can deliver a lot of liquid propane gas (LPG).

From Liquid to Gas

The propane in your tank is stored as a liquid. When your appliance calls for propane, the liquid propane leaves the tank and enters a non-pressurized area, where it is converted to vapor.

Please go here to learn more about how propane’s versatility and efficiency can give you more comfort and convenience in your Maine home.